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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Strings That Nimble Leap: Fylde Guitars And Their Players 

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Strings That Nimble Leap: Fylde Guitars And Their Players 
Fellside Recordings FECD285 

This extensive compilation is a collaboration between Fylde Guitars and Fellside Recordings celebrating the range of Fylde instruments played by a fantastic collection of musicians, mostly from the folk world. All profits will be divided between three charities: MIND, The Woodland Trust and Help Musicians UK. The very attractive and informative package contains two CDs (43 tracks in total) and a 128-page book of notes, photos and stories about the contributing musicians.

The list is a who’s who of folk players, but includes modern songwriters and jazz and blues musicians performing on Fylde guitars, mandolins, bouzoukis, citterns and mandolas. Of the 43 tracks, 20 were specially recorded and 16 are original compositions.

Reviewing 43 tracks is a daunting task as all are superb examples of the range of styles and recording approaches as detailed by Roger in the notes. Barbara Dickson’s lovely The Rigs Of Rye sits beautifully amongst the instrumental wizardry and balladry of Messrs Giltrap, Carthy, Fisher, Garbutt, Simpson, Lowe, Jones and Irvine on CD 1, which also has standout tracks from Chris While (Dark Blue Eyes) and Lisa Hannigan’s haunting Little Bird.

CD2 opens with John Smith and Clive Carroll’s Killing The Blues. Eric Bibb’s G and P is OK, but John Doyle’s Three Reels For Fylde is just the business. Remaining tracks represent a more modern fingerstyle and jazz vibe, all of which bring out the voices of different types of Fylde guitars.

All in all, this is a powerful project, stunningly recorded and presented in aid of the named charities. It is also testament to the excellence of the luthier and his understanding of the players’ requirements. Available only from the Fylde website, it is a must buy for folk and guitar aficionados: a genuine collector’s item.

Gerry Jones


This review appeared in Issue 131 of The Living Tradition magazine